Washington, Aug.16 (ANI): An investigative reporter of long standing and specializing in U.S. intelligence has said Washington is not that worried about Islamic terrorists blasting their way into a Pakistani base where nuclear weapons are stored, but more concerned about the access scientists and technicians have to highly enriched uranium (HEU) before it is delivered in weaponised form to the Pakistan Army.
According to Jeff Stein, who often reports and writes for the Congressional Quarterly (CQ), the majority among American experts is that the terrorist's modus operandi would be stealth and not a frontal assault that would leave most of them dead.
He quotes a top non-proliferation consultant as saying that there are some scientists and technicians who are rigorous Muslims, and that is cause for worry to them.
According to some published reports, such civilians are not vetted nearly as heavily as the military personnel responsible for protecting nuclear sites and materials.
"In Pakistan, the military provides generally respected security for the (mostly) HEU-based nuclear weapons material in their possession, and carefully vets the responsible personnel," Stein quotes the non-proliferation expert, who cannot be identified because he works on sensitive U.S. government programs, as saying.
"However, there's concern over security at the civilian plants where the HEU is actually produced. HEU is far easier to fashion into a nuclear weapon than is plutonium and easier to slip off the base," he warns.
He further says that the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier is a border in name only, and its border guards can easily and routinely be bought off. And from there, it's not a hard shot to the United States.
According to Stein, there's not a Predator in the sky that can find a device smaller than a bowling ball, hidden in a truck or a wooden cart. Furthermore, a barrel of water or fiberglass can conceal the weapon's radioactive emissions and all the satellites whirling the globe cannot detect a carefully laid plot to smuggle spheres of HEU out of Pakistan and onto a ship headed for the United States. (ANI)